Wednesday 16 January 2019

Tribune to take legal action over Mail stunt

THE SUNDAY Tribune newspaper is preparing to take legal action against the Irish Mail on Sunday for a share of revenues generated from last Sunday's stunt.

The Mail published a fake front page of the Tribune for 25,000 copies of its paper last weekend and sold it for a reduced price.

Lawyers for the Tribune, where publication has been suspended while it is in receivership, are also applying for compensation from the Mail for damages to the brand and the paper's goodwill.

Solicitor Kieran Kelly said that he was instructed to take the action under trademark infringement and breach of copyright legislation by receiver Jim Luby.

Mr Luby has four weeks to find a buyer for the Tribune.

The National Consumer Agency has separately confirmed it is now considering a prosecution for a breach of the Consumer Protection Act but said that it would not be making any further comment on the issue.

The Consumer Protection Act provides for prosecution for the use of "unfair or misleading commercial practices".

Maximum penalties are a fine of €3,000 and/or a six month sentence.

Representatives of the Tribune said that they want assurances that the Mail will not repeat the action.

Tribune editor Noirin Hegarty said that the paper would be seeking an apology and an acknowledgment that its actions breached professional standards.

Ms Hegarty said she was concerned the Mail's stunt would endanger the 43 jobs at the title and said that she was "appalled and shocked" that another newspaper would use such a move.

Secretary of the National Union of Journalists Séamus Dooley described the move as "crass and cynical".

Irish Mail on Sunday editor Sebastian Hamilton declined to comment on the threats of legal action but stood by his previous statement that it was an attempt to offer Tribune readers "a genuine alternative."

He said that if the marketing exercise encouraged more people to buy a paper it was "surely something we should encourage."


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